While everyone by now knows that the only reason CAT has been able to beat consensus earnings in the last several quarters is due to an unprecedented surge in stock buybacks, documented in great detail here in prior articles...
... the one thing that most do not appreciate, probably because nobody is willing to cover the ugly truth behind the headline numbers, is just how profound the secular collapse in CAT's business model has become.
Because according to the latest CAT retail sales data, Caterpillar has now reported an unprecedented 28 months of declining global retail sales, with the month of March seeing a 16% Y/Y collapse in China (after a 20% plunge in 2014 and a 24% plunge the year before), while Latin America has seen a 34% Y/Y crash, after a 21% drop the year before.
Or as far as the industrial and heavy equipment bellwether is concerned, the emerging markets (or BRICS) are in an unprecedented economic collapse.
And just to put the 28 months of declining retail sales in context, during the Great Financial Crisis, CAT suffered "only" 19 months of consecutive declines. As of March 2015, this number is now 28!
Or as a more truthful Tim Geithner would have said, "Welcome to the second Great Depression, Caterpillar!"